Salary Survey Extra: Additional data on salary satisfaction, Part 1
Posted on
March 19, 2020

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How does your level of salary satisfaction compare to that of other IT pros?

In the course of extensive research, social scientist and commentator Michael Philip Jagger discovered that it is often not possible to acquire or achieve any satisfaction. Jagger's work, while not specifically centered on salary satisfaction, bears out a truism of the working class that, no matter how much you pay most workers, they are bound to want to be paid more.

IT workers as a whole, of course, probably have good reason to be satisfied with their salaries, and many of them are. As noted in our January issue, 64.3 percent of certified IT pros who participated in our most recent Salary Survey are either completely satisfied with their compensation (6 percent), very satisfied (16.9 percent), or at least satisfied (41.4 percent). The rest were either not very satisfied (27.2 percent of those surveyed) or not at all satisfied (8.5 percent).

If we look beyond the black-or-white breakdown β€” 64.3 percent = some level of yea vs. 35.7 percent = some level of nay β€” however, there are some interesting ways to further dissect salary satisfaction. For example:

All U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied β€” 8.4 percent
Very Satisfied β€” 20.6 percent
Satisfied β€” 43.2 percent
Not very satisfied β€” 21.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied β€” 6.3 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied β€” 3.3 percent
Very Satisfied β€” 12.9 percent
Satisfied β€” 39.5 percent
Not very satisfied β€” 33.4 percent
Not At All Satisfied β€” 10.9 percent

Whether you live and work in the United States or find yourself somewhere else in the world, there's a fair-to-decent chance that you're happy with what you earn, but maybe not thrilled. On the other hand, U.S. workers are more likely to be excessively satisfied, while those outside the United States are more likely to see themselves as being paid less than they deserve.

You might also argue that certified IT professionals who are nearing the end of their working years are likely to have larger salaries than younger workers and therefore be more satisfied. We can look at that as well:

All U.S. Respondents‍

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 3.5 percent 17.2 percent 44.8 percent 20.7 percent 13.8 percent 2.4 percent
25 to 34 7.7 percent 19 percent 42.6 percent 24.4 percent 6.3 percent 18 percent
35 to 44 7.1 percent 23.1 percent 43.2 percent 20 percent 6.6 percent 28.4 percent
45 to 54 8.3 percent 21.8 percent 42.8 percent 21.5 percent 5.6 percent 30.2 percent
55 to 64 10.3 percent 18.1 percent 45.3 percent 21.1 percent 5.2 percent 18.8 percent
65 to 74 16 percent 12 percent 40 percent 20 percent 12 percent 2 percent
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2020 Survey Data

So there are a couple of small zigs where zags might be expected. The percentage of survey participants who are not at all satisfied with their salaries, for example, gets an odd spike among workers between the ages of 65 and 74. On the whole, however, the basic supposition that people tend to be more satisfied with their earning power as they get older (and hence more experienced) is borne out among U.S. tech workers.

All Non-U.S. Respondents

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 N/A 5.8 percent 48.1 percent 36.5 percent 9.6 percent 4.6 percent
25 to 34 2.6 percent 9.7 percent 35.7 percent 40.3 percent 11.7 percent 34.4 percent
35 to 44 5.1 percent 13 percent 39.5 percent 30.9 percent 11.5 percent 34.4 percent
45 to 54 2.3 percent 17.6 percent 42.8 percent 27.9 percent 9.4 percent 19.4 percent
55 to 64 4.3 percent 21.1 percent 45.1 percent 22.5 percent 7 percent 6.2 percent
65 to 74 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2020 Survey Data

When it comes to being Not Very Satisfied and Not At All Satisfied, the younger workers here are much more frustrated than their U.S. counterparts. And actually, there's a strong core of Not Very Satisfied workers at every age level here. High levels of satisfaction, where they do exist, are generally most prominent among the oldest workers, just as in the United States. Youth and beauty, it would seem, still hasn't cracked the code on how to defeat old age and treachery.

There are a couple of other ways the would be interesting to slice things up here, so we'll probably have more to say about this topic in at least one future Salary Survey Extra. Stay tuned.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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